Meet the WSNA Political Action Committee Board of Trustees

We asked our PAC board members why they serve on the board and why the PAC is important to members in general.

This story was published in the Winter 2024 issue of The Washington Nurse.

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The Washington State Nurses Association Political Action Committee is fueled by individual nurses and others whose goal is to use the political process to improve the nurse’s role in the healthcare delivery system. The nonpartisan WSNA PAC endorses and donates to pro-nurse state legislative candidates running for office.

We asked our PAC board members why they serve on the board and why the PAC is important to members in general. They talked about power, support, advocacy, and supporting pro-nurse candidates.

(David) Jacob Garcia, MBA, MSN, RN, PCCN

Position: Staff nurse, Astria Sunnyside Hospital
Prior office at WSNA: Vice chair of Labor Executive Council (current), secretary/treasurer on the Labor Executive Council (past)

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"By serving on the WSNA PAC Board, I am driven by the belief that our collective voices have the power to shape healthcare by not only safeguarding the well-being of nurses in Washington but also elevating the standard of care for the communities we serve. The WSNA PAC is crucial to me because when I joined WSNA, I learned the power of advocacy and found my passion for advocating for my fellow nurses at all levels of nursing, empowering their voices not just to be heard but to be listened to. We are stronger together!"

Justin Gill, DNP, ARNP, RN

Ex officio
Position: Urgent care nurse practitioner, Providence Health & Services in Everett
Prior office at WSNA: President of the WSNA Board of Directors (current), vice president of the Board of Directors (past)

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"I believe that supporting the WSNA PAC is an important way to leverage the trust and power that our profession holds in the public arena. It is vital that we support and endorse allies across the political spectrum that support nursing priorities."

John Gustafson, RN, CMSRN

Position: Retired staff nurse at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma and St. Michael Medical Center in Silverdale
Prior office at WSNA: Board of Directors’ director-at-large (current and past), Labor Executive Council (past), fourth term on PAC Board of Trustees

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"Public policy and regulations affect the nursing profession. The WSNA PAC is nonpartisan. Through the WSNA PAC, we can advocate, educate, build, and strengthen relationships with key decision makers in the legislature who stand with WSNA nurses. By investing in WSNA PAC with a monthly recurring contribution, you’re joining your colleagues in creating a strong voice for the nursing profession."

Annika Hoogestraat, BSN, RN, IBCLC, CCRN

Position: Cardiac ICU charge nurse, Seattle Children’s Hospital

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"Through the WSNA PAC, our nurses have the opportunity for empowerment through supporting legislative candidates that reflect our nursing values. Building relationships with our legislative partners is important to ensure Washington state is a safe place for healthcare workers and the patients they serve. Nurses’ voices deserve a space in legislation, and I am honored and excited to be a new trustee for our PAC and a representative of our nurse community."

Elizabeth Orten, BSN, RN, CCHP

Position: Night charge nurse (on-call), graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration

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"I wish to serve on the WSNA PAC Board to represent the interests of nurses and bring important safety and equity issues to the attention of legislators for deliberate action that will produce real improvements for providers and patients."

Pamela Pasquale, MN, RN, CNE

Position: Professional foot care nurse, self-employed
Prior office at WSNA: Board of Directors’ Director-at-Large (current and past), Professional Nursing and Healthcare Council (past)

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"I volunteered to join the WSNA PAC to articulate the issues nurses have been facing since the memories of the sacrifices nurses made during the pandemic have faded. Legislators and policy makers must remain committed to ensuring their constituents receive the best possible healthcare from nurses that are respected and appreciated with working conditions and compensation worthy of their professional commitment to their patients in whatever setting."

Gretchen Patrick, BSN, RN

Position: Retired public health nurse

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"Serving on the WSNA PAC Board of Trustees is important to me to help candidates who support nurses and nursing issues to be elected, and to support nurses running for office. I’m looking forward to participating in a process that encourages candidates running for office to define their knowledge of healthcare systems, state their positions on issues pertinent to nursing practice and related health outcomes, and demonstrate their understanding of healthcare disparities and social determinants of health for the people they hope to represent."

Nancy Wilder, RN

Position: Retired, former charge nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital
Prior office at WSNA: Local unit membership officer

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"I’m passionate about equity and access to healthcare in our communities. I believe good healthcare affects all aspects of a person and the community. When we are well, our state is also well. A key component of good healthcare is the promotion and support of our nursing professionals. We must encourage people to enter the profession. Access to education and the financial support of students are crucial to maintaining that the workforce will be there in the future. The support of existing nurses working is important to keep experts in the workforce. Their safety is paramount; 24 hours a day, nurses are assessing, evaluating, and advocating for your health, seven days a week. It’s that important."

Tristan Twohig, RN, CEN

Position: Emergency Department RN, Providence Holy Family Hospital
Prior office at WSNA: At-large member on Labor Executive Council (current), at-large member on Labor Executive Council (past), Second term on PAC Board of Trustees

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"I am honored to convey my participation with the WSNA PAC Board, recognizing its pivotal role in advancing our advocacy objectives. Our focus extends beyond any specific legislation, encompassing various issues vital to improving working conditions and ensuring the safe staffing of hospitals statewide. This underscores the importance of our collective efforts. I take immense pride in contributing to this impactful and transformative process. I eagerly anticipate leveraging my role to help guide fellow nurses, fostering a more engaged and empowered community in legislative action."